Don't repeal gas taxes. Come on.
If you live in one of the contested congressional districts in Southern California like CA-25 or CA-45, where Katie Hill and Katie Porter are running to unseat conservative incumbents, you probably have been inundated with campaign materials, door-knockers, ads and energy. The democratic spirit is alive and well in these areas where the fate of the balance of the U.S. legislature, and perhaps the fate of American democracy will be decided. It’s heavy stuff in those areas, and they have received a lot of attention.
If you don’t live in one of those districts in Southern California though? Say you’re in Santa Monica or Central LA? You may feel the absence of any political energy. Your congressman is a given, and he or she’s probably flawed but better than whoever is running against him or her. We know Gavin Newsom is gonna be governor, so what is there for anyone to vote on? To organize for? You may not even have a plan to vote, or dive deep on the issues because, hey, we got this.
I feel this energy palpably in the bulk of the city of Los Angeles, and let me tell you: it’s wrong. This election REALLY MATTERS up and down the ballot. It is JUST AS important that you get and informed and vote if you live in the most liberal political district in the state. Maybe more so! Why? Well:
The contested districts of California are historically white and conservative. That the national political discourse has tipped over into overt white supremacy is the main reason that these districts are up for grabs. But if swing voters on the margin could well put Katie Hill and Katie Porter in office, it is also possible that they will vote to simultaneously repeal the gas tax (Prop 6) or expand Prop 13 (Prop 5). Homeowners in these areas are keeping rent control expansion (Prop 10) down in the polls. A historically conservative voter who hates Donald Trump does not necessarily care about progressive tax policy. They may even vote for John Cox for governor, a right-wing lunatic who is inching closer to presumed favorite Gavin Newsom in every poll taken.
And there are a lot of things that matter statewide in this election. For example, the gas tax. The gas tax passed by the state legislature last year is good for California; it funds needed infrastructure projects, while discouraging driving on the margins without being so high as to make driving onerous for those who still need to do it to get to work. The people paying the tax will directly benefit from it through better infrastructure.
The gas tax passed with a 2/3 majority in our state legislature; this is good policy that should please all of the left/center coalition that makes up the massive Democratic majorities in California politics. Most of California’s voters don’t want to repeal the gas tax. That repeal is on the ballot at all is because of a small group right wing power structures working in league with oil companies. It’s Proposition 6, and it is very bad.
But! If the voters from only contested districts like those in Orange County, the central valley and north LA County turn out in high numbers? And the rest of the state doesn’t because of complacency? It will be repealed. And a needed revenue source for the state, and push towards a reduction in carbon emissions, will be gutted by a small fraction of disproportionately wealthy and white voters.
That’s just one example; there are many others on this ballot. So please, PLEASE, if you live in LA or Santa Monica or wherever else, do not sit back over the next six weeks and assume that you’re good because your house seat is a Democratic lock and Newsom will (probably) still win comfortable. Please, learn about this ballot, and get out and vote. Specifically? Vote no on Prop 6.